By Gilad Atzmon
Eleven people were killed in a gun attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania last Saturday. It seems mass shooting has become a popular hobby and not just in America. Political violence is mushrooming. It is crucial to try to understand how this has happened to us. What led to this rapid deconstruction of our human landscape, how have we regressed into lethal barbarism and where and when did we lose our ability to care for each other, to be compassionate, to tolerate difference?
A few days ago I wrote that this violent shift requires much deeper analysis and not our mere anecdotal debate over the 2nd Amendment or gun control. It demands a profound study of the transition in our human condition. Mass killings as a daily occurrence has something to do with people’s sense that we live in a universe that lacks a prospect of a future. It is the outcome of the reduction of the working class into a workless mass. It has a lot to do with the collapse of the family and the orchestrated attack on family values and the church. It may also have something to do with the fact that our governments are wiping out countries and people in the name of immoral interventionism and Ziocon interests. As a part of understanding the motivation for these killings, it is important to consider that taking people’s lives on a mass scale makes the killer a ‘little god.’ Add to the mixture some ‘emancipatory ideology’ and the perpetrators of these barbarian crimes are elevated, at least in their own eyes, into martyrs.
It is perplexing; despite our real time access to world news which notifies us of developments around the globe as they happen, our understanding of these events and their meanings is constantly shrinking. The more we ‘know,’ the less we understand. We seem to have forgotten how to question events, political exchanges and historical changes. We are removed from essentiality and authentic critical thinking, we are drifting away from Being.
Instead, we have learned to operate carefully within a strict regime of correctness. We know how not to cross some sensitive lines and that has kept us from questioning what really happened. We got ourselves accustomed to a tyranny of correctness.
Monitoring the ‘antisemitism debate’ provides us with an insight into the dynamic that sustains our oppressive authoritarian reality. We, the people, are subject to a constant flood of ‘information’ delivered via two parallel streams: one is characterised by its fascination with fake-news and manufactured antisemitic accusations. The other is designed to suppress any critical analysis of the causes of actual tragic events such as the recent Pittsburgh pogrom.
While Western media outlets are excited to disseminate phantasmic manufactured ‘revelations’ about “Labour’s antisemitism” or Corbyn as an “existential threat to British Jews” there are, noticeably, zero attempts made to understand what led to the mass shooting in Pittsburgh. All the press tells us is that the perpetrator is an ‘antisemite’ and that anti-Semitism is growing.
From the perspective of liberals and progressives, the declaration of ‘antisemitsm’ is an end in itself. Once an act is castigated as ‘antisemitic’ any inquiries come to an end. The perpetrator is condemned as an ‘irrational hate monger.’ But antisemitism is not the only antisocial phobia. Homophobia, islamophobia, transphobia and other such ‘phobias’ operate to close debate in a similar fashion. They serve as magic wand soundbites designed to deny any rationale for political positions that make us uncomfortable. We reduce dissent into a symptom of ‘insanity.’
The effect of these soundbite explanations is devastating. The West has replaced its Athenian ethos of tolerance and pluralism with a radical form of Talmudic Herem (excommunication).
The media casually labels as antisemitic anyone who dares to express peaceful critical thinking. And the same media suppresses any attempt to grasp what antisemitsm means in practice and what are its causes. While the media parrots the ADL, claiming that antisemitsm is on the rise and that the Pennsylvania shooting was the worst anti-Semitic event in American history, the media does not dare ask why. Why is America apparently becoming increasingly anti-Semitic
If Jewish institutions, and liberals and progressives want to fight anti-Semitism, the first step should be to open a discussion of the circumstances and dynamics that have led to such a rise of anti Jewish bigotry. To prevent the next pogrom we need to emancipate ourselves from the current tyranny of correctness and reinstate the Greek agora into our midst. Our social media networks could become a true marketplace of ideas, encouraging people to challenge each other and to constantly rethink their own positions.